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New Member: Takahē Recovery Programme, New Zealand conservation department

April is Takahē Awareness Month in New Zealand! Photo: Takahē on Tiritiri Matangi Island in the Hauraki Gulf, Auckland, New Zealand (Steve Todd)

Thanks to Auckland-based ZIMS Advocate, Tineke Joustra, for providing insights on New Zealand’s threatened species and collaborating to make this work possible.

Welcome New Zealand’s Department of Conservation, Takahē (flightless bird) Recovery Program, to Species360’s member community. Takahē have special cultural, spiritual and traditional significance to Ngāi Tahu, the iwi (Māori tribe) of most of New Zealand’s South Island. Ngāi Tahu are working with DOC as part of a collaborative community program to protect this precious species.

After being presumed extinct for nearly 50 years, the takahē was famously rediscovered in 1948. Geoffrey Orbell, a physician from Invercargill and his party, found the last remaining wild population of the bird high in the tussock grasslands of the remote Murchison Mountains, above Lake Te Anau, Fiordland.

The rediscovery of the takahē launched New Zealand’s longest running endangered species programme. For more than 70 years, measures to ensure takahē are never again considered extinct have included pioneering conservation techniques for endangered species, captive breeding, island translocations and wild releases.

Species360 will work with the DOC’s takahe network to support collective conservation action – including ex situ locations and 18 in situ sites scattered across various New Zealand islands.

In all, 23 aquariums, zoos, and educational institutions have joined Species360 in 2021, including institutions in India, Russia, Australia, Israel, Indonesia, Romania, France, Germany, Czech Republic, Spain, United Kingdom, United States, and Canada.

Taiwan Association of Zoos and Aquariums (TAZA) is a new Association Member, and is in the process of migrating their 3 studbooks to ZIMS. 

Also in 2021: Species360 Research Partner Program has added (5) new institutions, including the IUCN Species Survival Commission – Primates Section on Small Apes; University of Suffolk (UK) Wildlife, Ecology and Conservation Science Program; Ark Animal Health/Sorrento Therapeutics; North Carolina State University; and University of Virginia (Unites States). The later will use physiological markers data in ZIMS as part of a comparative study of parasitism and immune function in primates.

Read more about how IUCN Primates SSA plans to use ZIMS data here.

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